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December 19, 1959


Author Affiliations

Phoenix, Ariz.

From the Department of Cardiology, St. Joseph's Hospital.

JAMA. 1959;171(16):2205-2208. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010340049012

The differential diagnosis between acute myocardial infarction and acute pericarditis is important because it markedly affects treatment and prognosis. In occasional instances the acute inflammatory reaction of pericarditis is localized to a relatively small area of ventricular wall and the electrocardiogram resembles that of myocardial infarction. The term "pseudo-infarction" phenomenon is suggested for this condition. It may mimic myocardial infarction so closely that the latter is distinguished with certainty only by the appearance of pathological Q waves. In the present case of a 9-year-old boy admitted to a hospital with the chief complaint of moderately severe precordial pain of four days' duration, the signs and symptoms suggested myocardial infarction, but the final diagnosis was acute idiopathic pericarditis.